by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Arguably the performance of note was that of Fan Siqi, winner of the Junior Girls’ Singles title at the 2014 China Junior and Cadet Open; she beat Romania’s Elizabeta Samara, the highest ranked player competing in the preliminary round and 2015 European champion. Furthermore, she won in a most impressive manner; she succeeded in four straight games (11-8, 11-5, 11-8, 11-9).
Equally, Huang Yingqi, only 16 years old, attracted the attention, likewise she beat a former European champion; by the very narrowest of margins, she overcame Sweden’s Li Fen, the winner in 2013 in Schwechat (11-9, 9-11, 3-11, 11-11, 13-11, 3-11, 11-9).
Both results were arguably contrary to expectations; somewhat differently the successes gained by Mu Zi, Wen Jia and Wu Yang were to be anticipated; like Sun Yingsha all had ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles titles to their credit.
Furthermore both Wen Jia and Wu Yang had won in Germany; Wen Jia had emerged successful in 2013 in Berlin, in the same city Wu Yang had succeeded in 2016. Additionally, Wen Jia had prevailed in 2011 in China, Wu Yang in the same year in Poland and Slovenia.
In Berlin, in the preliminary round of the Women’s Singles event, Mu Zi beat the host nation’s Petrissa Solja (11-4, 11-3, 11-5, 11-7), Wen Jia accounted for Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm (11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 3-11, 12-10, 11-9); Wu Yang ended the hopes of Poland’s Katarzyna Grzybowska-Franc (11-6, 11-5, 11-9, 12-10).
Defeats for former European champions and there was one more; Turkey’s Hu Melek, the current holder of the continental title was beaten by Korea’s Yang Haeun (11-8, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9, 5-11, 11-9), the winner the previous week at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Polish Open.
Success for Yang Haeun, most impressive, equally Chinese Taipei’s Cheng Hsien-Tu caught the eye; she beat the lJapan’s Yui Hamamoto in a hard fought seven games duel determined by the very narrowest of margins (11-5, 11-13, 11-9, 6-11, 6-11, 15-13, 11-9).
However, arguably upstaging everyone was Satsuki Odo; one day earlier she had beaten Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz in the second round of the Under 21 Women’s Singles event (13-11, 14-12, 12-10); in the preliminary round of the Women’s Singles competition she repeated the punishment, she emerged successful in five games (11-8, 11-4, 6-11, 11-8, 11-6).
It was for Adriana Diaz, now 17 years old a taste of her own medicine; over the years she has put elder players to the sword; Satsuki Odo is only 13 years of age; note the name.